Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sun and Shade



When I was a boy the house we lived in was on a small plot of land that backed onto the Salmo River. Between our fence and the riverbank was a small path that cut from the bridge over towards the high school. It was a popular path, particularly for daredevils on bikes because there were two small hills that made going over the path at high speed risky, therefore incredibly fun. The path's starting point was the bridge itself. Alongside the bridge roadway there were pedestrian pathways on either side. Kids going to school, on foot or on bikes, would come over the bridge and make a sharp turn onto the path and then be on their way.

Just off the beaten path, there was another, hard to see, grown over, pathway that lead down the bank beside the  bridge and then turned sharply to the space under the bridge. This was a place of perpetual shade and constant cool. The freshness of the water and the damp smell of shadow made this, for me, the perfect hiding place. And, of course, for all sorts of reasons, I desperately needed sanctuary.

There, under the bridge, I felt safe, and blessedly, entirely alone. I could sit and lean back against the struts of the bridge, let my various differences envelop me, and be at peace. It was the one place where I didn't feel pressure, internal and societal, to try to be and act like someone I wasn't. Escape into difference was a relief from the constant struggle to appear a captive of the norm. In a word, I felt - safe.

Today Joe and I celebrate 44 years of living together. We have managed to carve a life out for ourselves, a life that has always been, and continues to be, one of shared journey. We still laugh. We still chat in the car on the ride home from work. We still snuggle up at night. The years haven't always been easy, some of them, those where we were learning to live with each other, were awfully loud. But each year has built, one upon the other, to make a life together.

As a boy, sitting under that bridge, I wondered, fretfully, if I would ever feel as safe in the world, out from protective cover. I couldn't know then, I wish I knew then, that one day I'd meet a man who would offer me both sun and shade - and make it such that I felt safe in both.

That's what I celebrate today.

The man who has given me 44 years of sun and shade.

27 comments:

CapriUni said...

Happy Anniversary!

Susan, Mum to Molly said...

Congratulations Dave & Joe!

You guys have been together for longer than many of your readers have been alive...

And I mean that in the the kindest, most complimentary way possible!

Beautiful words, and a beautiful photo, to celebrate a beautiful partnership.

Tamara said...

Happy anniversary and prayers for many more years of sun and shade together.

Colleen said...

What a beautiful tribute! Happy Anniversary, Dave and Joe!
Colleen

J said...

Beautiful. Happy anniversary!

Mark Pathak said...

Poor Joe!!

Congratulations to you both!

leslie sobel said...

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to you both!

Jan Goldfield said...

Happy Anniversary to both of you. May you celebrate many more.

Andrea S. said...

Congratulations, and happy anniversary!

Belinda said...

Happy 44th Anniversary. 1969 was very special year. :)

I loved the photo and the memoir.

Amy said...

Congratulations to you both! Wishing you many more years of happiness together.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute.
Happy Anniversary, Dave and Joe!

Sue

Flemisa said...

My most sincere best wishes for many more years.
I am so glad that you have each other through all the things that have brought you to this point and for all that lays ahead.
Sorry, but I am also jealous that I don't have someone and that my son (who was gay) couldn't find that "one". Maybe that is why I want you and everyone else to have it -- it has to be true that people can find their "sun and shade".

Kendroid said...

One of the lucky ones! Wishing you many more to come!

AkMom said...

I love the mental picture of your safe spot. So calm, so serene, so......Safe.

And now you have Joe.

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah to love, life and happiness (together)!

Julia

Anonymous said...

love <3

Kristine said...

Happy anniversary to one of my favorite couples (of purely virtual acquaintance, of course)! :) <3

Jayne Wales said...

Love to you both on this very special day.

Rachel in Idaho said...

44 years? Well, you HAVE been together longer than I've been on the earth. Only a few years, though!

The HAPPIEST OF ANNIVERSARIES to you both!

Defying Gravity said...

Congratulations from the UK as well!

liz said...

Happy anniversary!!

Jisun said...

Happy anniversary! Beautiful.

Kris S. said...

Happy happy happy anniversary to you and the lovely and talented Joe Jobes!

Princeton Posse said...

Late Entry:
Happy Anniversary Dave & Joe!

Tree said...

just seeing this now, enjoy your blog immensely and rarely comment but I can't pass up the chance to congratulate a wonderful couple on 44 years of true love.
Here's to at least 44 more!

krlr said...

Happy anniversary!
This was beautiful - congratulations.